The original USS Little Rock has been a key waterfront attraction since arriving in Buffalo shortly after being decommissioned in 1976. Next June, the new USS Little Rock will visit Buffalo’s inner harbor to be commissioned alongside its namesake.
The event will mark two historic firsts: the first time a new ship is commissioned beside its predecessor, and the first time Buffalo hosts the commissioning of a Navy ship. The new ship’s commander, Paul Burkhart, is a Rochester native.
Organizers of the historic event gave an update Tuesday at Canalside. Maurice Naylon, chairman of the local commissioning committee, says there is no official date for the 3,400-ton ship’s arrival, as it must first pass rigorous inspections.
“This is an exciting event and it’s a historical event, but let’s not forget that the endgame for this is putting a viable ship into the naval fleet,” Naylon said.
Canalside General Manager Ryan Coate says the week-long ceremony will highlight the city’s maritime history.
“Those who have served on the USS Little Rock and the crew that will man the new USS Little Rock will find a warm Buffalo welcome at our waterfront. Let’s not forget that Buffalo’s rich maritime history is recognized every day here at Canalside,” Coate said.